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Hi everybody,
I'm writing my PhD on modal verbs and semi-modal verbs. I am right now lookin at strong obligation - i.e. the area covered by MUST, HAVE TO and HAVE GOT TO. I've come across the distinction between internal and external obligation a lot of times but I'd like to have a reference for it - does anybody know where this distinction is made in the literature?
best
Monika
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AnonymousHi everybody,
I'm writing my PhD on modal verbs and semi-modal verbs. I am right now lookin at strong obligation - i.e. the area covered by MUST, HAVE TO and HAVE GOT TO. I've come across the distinction between internal and external obligation a lot of times but I'd like to have a reference for it - does anybody know where this distinction is made in the literature?
best
Monika
Sorry I cannot answer your question, but I would be leary of any source that approved the above as anything other than "casual" to "sloppy".
I have never understood the objection to the word "got".
Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
ForbesI have never understood the objection to the word "got".
Much could be written, I am sure, about objections to "got". In this case, it is simply superfluous, redundant and not really needed at all. Emotion: wink
Let's not forget that anyone writing a dissertation for a Ph.D. in Linguistics is not interested in language as some people would like it to be, but in language as it is actually used. It is a scientific discipline that attempts to describe linguistic reality. Emotion: smile

CJ
the distinction between internal and external obligation
This sounds a lot like something from Palmer, although he may not have been the first to use the terms.

CJ
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I would be interested in reading the opinions of the moderators on this topic because I seem to have a different opinion to most of the ESL textbooks written for students in Spain.

I don't really think it's worth making the distinction so finely but the books do and also questions are set in examinations asking students to make the distinction.

I use 'have to' when the speaker considers the obligation to be sensible and worthwhile for them - so I assume that this is 'internal obligation'.Therefore I use 'must' when the obligation is from another person usually someone in authority such as a parent, teacher, etc - so this would be 'external obligation.

The books seem to say the opposite.
PhilipSorry I cannot answer your question, but I would be leary of any source that approved the above as anything other than "casual" to "sloppy".
Er, shouldn't that be 'leery'?
I have the same problem, to the point that I believe the entire internal/external conceptualization and terminology are not only hopelessly inadequate, but actually perversely antagonistic to understanding.

I look at must as epistemic (logical necessity), have to as deontic (interpersonal obligation). Period.
Other variants are to me merely "borrowings". We can borrow "must" into the deontic world and "have to" into the epistemic world. (Employees must wash their hands after using the toilet. / It had to [be / have been] John who left the keys on the table.) But these can be conceptualized as special uses. They don't need to be seen as the primary uses.

If an obligation is imposed from outside, I assume it's external. If it's imposed by the subject upon himself, I assume it's internal. However, I don't see any way that this distinction correlates with any particular choice of modal verb. Both have to and must can be used for external obligations, as I conceive of them here, and both have to and must can be used for internal obligations as well. One may as well discuss the number of letters needed to spell each modal verb as a means of understanding how they work!

If internal and external represent a separate and independent classification, it should be possible to find epistemic internal, epistemic external, deontic internal, and deontic external variants. I have no idea what these would be! Perhaps if I [have to / must] do something, it's internal and if you, he, or she [{have/has} to / must] do something, it's external!

In short, those are my rambling remarks on the subject.

CJ
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